In school, the two most common questions people would ask me were:
- Why are you always so quiet?
- Why are you always so nice?
The ‘quiet’ question took me years to find an answer to. It took me a lot of learning and soul-searching to realise, this is who I am. There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I have just as many words as everybody else, but sometimes they aren’t verbal and a lot of them are reserved for certain conversations with certain people. I accepted it. And it helps me work on myself for self-improvement.
But the ‘nice’ question… granted, it was weird since I was definitely not the only ‘nice’ person in the world. But I guess I was unusually less negative, less snarky than the average teenager. They meant ‘nice’ as in ‘kind, friendly, emits positivity’… and well, I’ve always known the answer to that one.
“I’m nice because I know how it feels to be hurt.”
To me, that was an obvious answer. And it’s something I’ve always stuck to.
It’s not a nice feeling to be hurt. I don’t want to cause it. If you’re already feeling hurt, I don’t want to add to it. If anything, I want to help ease the pain, even if only a little. Even if I don’t know about it.
Even things like:
“Sorry, the till doesn’t seem to be working,” said the nervous cashier, stumbling to get things fixed as quick as possible. “Sorry for making you wait.”
“It’s okay. Computers have a mind of their own, don’t they?” I reply.
In other words: don’t worry, rest assured that I’m not annoyed at you. You’re doing your best and I’m happy to wait. Little things like that I believe can make a difference.
What prompted me to write this post is a recent event where I’ve also been treated with that same attitude. About a month ago, someone showed me kindness when I was standing alone, unsure of what to do – and secretly feeling very anxious. I don’t believe he was aware of what I was feeling. In my eyes, that kindness was unbelievable but I wonder if he saw it as nothing more than being a nice person. I don’t think he’ll ever know how happy that moment made me. I’m grateful for it, it reinforces my own attitude that we should always show each other kindness where possible.
I have felt the difference it makes.
It’s such an ironic truth. I think that sometimes, the most positive people in the world are the ones who went through the toughest hardships. The kindest are the ones who have suffered the most unkindness. The ones who spread the most happiness are actually the saddest. As the quote above says, we know how it feels and we don’t want anyone else to feel that way.
Even during the times when nobody knew what I was going through, there exist people in the world who would give me cheer. There were people who were nice to me.
And that’s essentially how I live.
So then. Why am I so nice?
To that, I would ask: why shouldn’t I be?